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Endless Summer
Pablo S. Torre
June 09, 2008
If you prefer small ball—meaning affordable tickets and young players with a hunger for the game—SI has plotted a 71-day, 15,997-mile journey through the minor leagues. It'll be worth the price of gas (promise)
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June 09, 2008

Endless Summer

If you prefer small ball—meaning affordable tickets and young players with a hunger for the game—SI has plotted a 71-day, 15,997-mile journey through the minor leagues. It'll be worth the price of gas (promise)

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What could be more American than watching a baseball game on Independence Day? How about a postgame fireworks show ... on the banks of the Mississippi... while sitting in a Jacuzzi? All of the explosions at Woodmen Park, home of a Cardinals' Class A affiliate, are visible from the outfield's new Hot Tub Party Deck. God bless America, indeed.

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Lowell, Mass.
Lowell Spinners vs. Jamestown Jammers, 5:05 p.m., LeLacheur Park

After the Quad Cities fireworks you'll need to pull an all-night drive to help fill LeLacheur Park for consecutive sellout number 318. It'll be worth it, however. Besides attracting your standard-issue Red Sox fanaticism, the Class A Spinners are known for highbrow bobbleheads (author Jack Kerouac, artist James Whistler) and lowbrow promos (Birth Night, on which the first pregnant ticket holder to give birth wins a year's supply of diapers).

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Portland, Maine
Portland Sea Dogs vs. Reading Phillies, 1:00 p.m., Hadlock Field

If you can't get to Fenway Park, then Hadlock Field is the next best thing. The home of the Sea Dogs, the Red Sox' Double A team, features the Maine Monster, a 37-foot-high wall in leftfield. And beyond it there are even facsimiles of the Coke bottle and Citgo sign that loom over Fenway.

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Aberdeen, Md.
Aberdeen IronBirds vs. Auburn Doubledays, 7:05 p.m., Ripken Stadium

How popular is team owner and native son Cal Ripken Jr.? The IronBirds have sold out every date—about 6,000 fans per game—since he moved the Orioles Class A affiliate from Utica, N.Y., to his new ballpark complex in 2002.

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Cape Cod, Mass.
Cape Cod League games and sites to be announced

Cape Cod is the most prestigious summer league for college players in the U.S., and in the 2007 amateur draft alone, 222 former players were selected—including the ones taken at Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7. By the way, admission to all the games is free.

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Durham, N.C.
Durham Bulls vs. Rochester Red Wings, 5:05 p.m., Durham Bulls Athletic Park

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